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Wisconsin is the only team with a realistic chance of catching Michigan and Michigan State, and even the Badgers are no better than a long shot to earn a share of the regular-season title at this point. Michigan's overtime victory over Purdue may have signaled the death knell for the Badgers' title chances.
The Badgers' title bid was probably doomed by a midseason slump, when they lost five of six games following a 16-0 start. On the morning of Feb. 2, Wisconsin was 4-5 in the conference and appeared to be hopelessly behind Michigan, which was 8-0 at that time, and Michigan State, which was 8-1.
However, Wisconsin has bounced back since then and has won six straight games, including three against ranked teams. If Michigan's Glenn Robinson III had not made his game-winning shot against Purdue on Wednesday, the Badgers would be just one game out of first place. Instead, they are two back with just three to play.
A fundamentally sound and balanced team that shoots the ball well, makes few mistakes and controls tempo effectively, Wisconsin is playing as well as anyone in the conference at the moment. Guard Ben Brust may have broken out of his shooting slump in the comeback win over Indiana on Tuesday, and his shooting woes had been the Badgers' only worry in recent games.
The Badgers may be the favorites in the Big Ten tournament.
Iowa looked like a title contender a week ago, but Tuesday's loss to Minnesota was the second straight defeat for the Hawkeyes and probably ended their hopes for a championship. The Hawkeyes rely on their depth to overwhelm opponents, and depth becomes less of an issue at this stage of a season.
Ohio State has won six of its last seven games and has come out of a midseason slump, much like Wisconsin did. The Buckeyes are still limited offensively, though, and probably are too far behind at this point to win a title.
Nebraska started Big Ten play 0-4, which probably ruined their regular-season title hopes. But, next to Wisconsin, the Cornhuskers had been the hottest team in the conference, having won five in a row and seven of their last eight. But that was before Nebraska lost on Wednesday to Illinois, eliminating the Cornhuskers from title contention and hurting their chances for an NCAA tournament berth.